Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

All the kids are finally asleep. Cross your fingers that I'll finally get to see my midwife for an exam on Tuesday. I need it badly. Now that I'm heading really, really fast toward when Gabe and Eva came (29 weeks- I'm 25, and an average pregnancy is 40), I'm getting antsy. I don't want to go through the NICU again. I don't want to go to a hospital again, unless it's absolutely necessary.

I am hoping that with my holiday slump past and my decision not to return to school for spring semester, I'll have more time to blog. Priorities, right? For the record, though, I just checked my grades- 3 A's and a D (that would be phy. ed.- due to my post-retreat sciatica attack in October, I fell behind in logging hours in the fitness center and never caught up. Oh well). Yay me! Now I'm only 16 credits from my AA!

I don't have much to write right now- the things that have been crowding my mind for the past 3 weeks are, predictably, absent. So read this instead (thanks to Sarah for the great article).

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

For the second day in a row, I ended up throwing up my breakfast. I can't figure out why, yesterday I had Cheerios and banana, today I had raisin bran (superstitiously- wondering if having Cheerios again would provoke a repeat). Jeff is giving my body little pep talks, telling it it is pregnant, not bulimic. Apparently, it's confused. The only thing I can think of is, maybe my light box is somehow triggering this? I use it while I eat breakfast- I don't know what the connection would be, but I can't come up with anything else. I have to remember that two days in a row might be a coincidence, not a pattern.

I can definitely tell that the light is working. I feel a bit more energetic, I don't have the urge to nap every day at 3 (although the urge to nap at 10- in my business class- is unchanged), I actually sat down and played playdoh with Gabe and Eva yesterday. I can't remember the last time I sat down and played something kind of messy with them. We have a lot of physical games we play, but nothing arty, which is sad. Allie loves to paint and sculpt and draw- and that's fine, because I don't have to sit and watch to make sure she doesn't paint the walls or eat the playdoh. So I've been lazy with Gabe and Eva because I haven't felt up to watchdogging the process, and I didn't want to end up with blue walls (I already have a pink one, thanks to Eva and Crayola sidewalk chalk).

So much needs to be done to our house- maintenance and renovation. Obviously we don't want to put tons of money into a house that's worth $5K, but it would be nice to repaint the kitchen and living room, and replace the surface of the deck. I just don't know when we'd find the time.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Better Late...

As promised, some very early pictures of my littlest ones (in more than one way), two years ago. Happy birthday to them! Eva in the NICU (that's my hand) Posted by Hello

Gabe in the NICU Posted by Hello

Here they are now. Yesterday night they both sang along with Irish Blessing at the gathering. Hard to believe. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

I just realized that I shouldn't be here. I'm sitting at the computer station reserved for scanner use, and I have not scanned one single thing in the hour that I've been sitting here. And I used to get pissed off that people wouldn't read signs when I worked in retail! I've just been bitten by the hypocrite bug!

I'm struggling with school still- registration is in two weeks, so I have to decide on classes pretty quick. And I have to decide whether I want to drag my pregnant self out of the house every day in April, or if I want to compromise and take less-than-stellar online courses. I also need to decide if I want to get an acoustic guitar and take a class to learn to play it (I have an electric, but the class teaches acoustic only). Anyone know of a used lefty acoustic for sale? I could restring a righty, a la Jimi, but as Jeff pointed out, that means my pick guard is in the wrong place. Hmm.

I think I don't want to be a midwife today. I think my temperament is just way better suited to being a doula. Unless we move to The Farm, in which case I may reconsider. I just read Spiritual Midwifery again, and am amazed that modern medicine (as is its usual custom in all things) has so persistently tried to treat birth and pregnancy as purely physical states. That is probably my biggest criticism of our culture's birth practices right now. I'll have to go more into that later, because it's time for class, again.

A quick warning: tomorrow is Gabe and Eva's 2nd birthday, so I'll be posting a birthday picture of them then and now. Some people (me before they were born emphatically included) are really disturbed/upset by pictures of small preemies, so I wanted to prepare y'all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Why I am not allowed to take care of myself

I finally started using my light box this week. I'm supposed to start around the end of September, mid-October at the latest. Whoops. So now I'm impatient for it to work (i.e. remove my narcolepsy), and I keep forgetting that before I get to "OK" I have to slog back up through the ground I lost by waiting a month and a half too long.

In response to the comment I got two posts ago about winter and depression: yes, I want to eat and eat and eat. And sit at home on the couch, dozing on and off, with the TV on to something mindless while my servants bring me Cheetos and Coke. Ah. I feel lucky, in a completely ungrateful way, that I have a PE class this semester, so that I have GPA pressure to motivate me to work out (if it was for my own good, well...see post title). We don't have cable (gasp! yes, we're taking donations right now! kidding), so I'm stuck with network, but I'm oddly comforted by PBS. I'm a sucker for period dramas and anything with Abraham Lincoln. Speaking of which, tonight is the second episode of Regency House Party, which I'm ashamed to admit, I'm kind of taken by.

I'm still thinking about where my life is going from here. I think it's an artificially imposed decision (good question, Rachel- and thanks, both Rachels), but at the same time, it isn't. If I was planning on becoming a midwife, for instance, I'm in the wrong school. Most CPMs, if they go to school, go to a three-year midwifery course (two years study, one year supervised practice) and then take an apprenticeship. CNMs are different, of course- a BA or MA in nursing plus three years of obstetrical specialization. But they practice in hospitals, and I'm really convinced that I don't want to be part of imposing hospital routine and procedure. I just think I'm too emotionally tied to birth to be a good hospital midwife- if I was just doula-ing, I would be able to grieve with a mom about an unwanted procedure, whereas I think as a CNM, my first priority would have to be keeping everyone safe, and preserving the emotional distance needed to make good, objective decisions.

So here's the rub. Part of me feels like getting an education might be wasted money and effort. If I'm honest, that feeling probably comes from the idea that I enjoy school, therefore it can't be good for me. Something like that. Or I'm going to school mainly out of pleasure-seeking, and I don't deserve pleasure, therefore I must stop. I have a really hard time believing the things that come out of my brain sometimes when I stop and look at them. Despite having a very egalitarian marriage, I still try to stuff myself into the subservient-female role sometimes (and I hope some of you are laughing, because if there's one role I don't fit, it's that one). I don't know why. I suppose that is just the part of evangelicalism I absorbed best- my role as a wife and mother, quietly and steadfastly supporting my intrepid husband as he makes his way through the dark and dangerous world. Yeesh. Yeah, it still doesn't fit.

So I sit here and second- and third-guess myself about my place in the world, but in the meantime, school is fun (for the most part). I just wish that didn't make me feel guilty.

Friday, October 29, 2004


Academic Armageddon- that's my English prof's title for our final paper assignment. On the surface it isn't bad- 5 to 8 pgs, annotated bibliography with at least 3 print sources. No biggie, I've had to write longer. And there's no topic restriction, which is always nice. Only it's 25% of our grade, so I'm sweating it. I settled on my subject being drawbacks to the increasing reliance on technology in childbirth (hospital birth, but since 90% of people assume that's the only kind in existence, I don't think I'll have to qualify it ;). It's a topic I know a lot about already and have read books galore on, I just have to pull out quotes, essentially, and write the paper itself- my research was largely done two years ago when I trained with DONA (to obtain certification, there's a bunch of required reading you must do). I think it sounds like a boring paper, but I know it's one I can do easily and well. And it would probably be interesting to most people- my familiarity with the subject is the major root of my ennui.

But I wonder. I wonder. I wonder. I keep coming back to midwifery. I read an article in Mothering about a paraplegic woman's homebirth and her midwife's complete confidence in her, and I think I want to do that. I talk to my midwife and think I want to be her. I hear a woman's birth experience, and sometimes I want to find her doctor and beat him/her mercilessly for how she and her birth and her baby have been violated and abused. I think, often, I need to do something about this. Part of me would love nothing more than to love women and catch babies for the rest of my life. To function as a doula in the hospital and a midwife at home. Rolla (that's my midwife) and I are soul mates- I don't usually connect to other women immediately, but I did with her. She seems almost like the mentor I wasn't looking for.

But part of me shoots back that it's escapist. I'm not thinking of becoming a midwife with some political goal or statement in mind, not to protest the system but to support the counterculture that already exists. I'll never be one to march against hospital birth or hospital policies, nor can I see myself calling legislators to get laws changed. I don't even really have a goal of convincing people that homebirth is as safe or safer than hospital birth (even though I deeply believe it is, and there is plenty of evidence to support it). It comes down to preaching to the choir, I guess, and the evangelical part of me says that isn't enough. Lifestyle witness for alternative birth isn't enough. Walking my walk isn't enough. I have to talk the talk; convince people on the other side to come around to my POV; proselytize for homebirth, in other words. But is that even true?

In the past, I've compromised with myself and decided that I'd do something else completely as a day job (usually teaching or social work- apparently I have an obligation complex, sheesh), and be a doula only- in my spare time. As a hobby. The doula role is easier to justify, as in a very real sense it is an activist role- a doula is, at heart, an advocate and servant of a birthing woman, making sure she is as comfortable and well-supported as possible, and communicating the mother's wishes to the hospital staff when she might be too "good" (compliant) or focused to advocate for herself. I have the added benefit, since it is a hobby, of being able to choose not to charge for my services- which obviously wouldn't be the case if I were a doula/midwife full-time. It feels pretty morally unimpeachable. I'm completely addicted to the sense of being morally superior. I hate that.

But it also feels useless. How much spare time will I really have as a wife and mother of four? Maybe this is just another sneaky 4 (enneagram) way of avoiding a decision so that I don't have to worry about making the wrong one. Except.

Except that decision time is coming whether I like it or not. Either I will decide or something or someone will decide for me.

I have a pretty good feel for my gifts, I think. I just wish I had a better sense of my calling.


I've been thinking lately about the things in my life that are tidal in nature, and how their movements affect mine and vice versa. It started with a comment from Jeff a while back about a certain friendship..."Your friendship is just tidal. You guys talk a lot for a while, then back off and take a break and don't communicate much" (or something like that). And I looked back, and it's true. And not just of that relationship. It's true of my energy level, my need for sleep, other's a little alarming, if I think of it in terms of consistency vs inconsistency.

Right now, energy is at low tide. I can hardly muster the energy to make myself dinner, which is saying something when I am pregnant and ravenous (I finally cooked for myself at 8 last night- I made for the kids at 5, and since we don't have snacks, that was my first food since 1). I want to sleep all the time, and it's a struggle every day to make it through the afternoon without a nap. I'm narcoleptic in class, even my English class, which is the one I'm currently living for, as school goes.

Patience is at a low ebb, too. I consider it a victory when I make it through a day without yelling like a fishwife at my kids, or hitting someone- that sounds terrible, but I feel terrible. I don't believe in physical punishment- spanking/hitting/"tapping"/grabbing/pinching- so I die a little bit every time I violate that deep conviction.

I know that a lot of this is just part of my phisiology and psychology in winter- just the lack of sun causes suicidal depression for me for two or three months in a typical year (if I neglect my light box). I know this, but it doesn't help me forgive myself. And I'm beginning to think this inability to deal gently with myself is contributing to or fueling all the other ungentleness in my life- with my family, for example.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I would add this to the post a few back about Allie and voting, but then no one would see it. Anyhow, I forgot way back when to tell everyone that my son, who is not much of a talker yet (a doer, though- whew, yeah)...well, apparently he already has a platform and a book planned. Who'd have known? One day he just walked up to Jeff and spit out the name of his forthcoming book on attachment parenting-

"happy baby...happy you"


Thanks the people who reached out in church tonight, explicitly or implicitly, to offer their support during what was a very tough gathering for me.

Yes, I was crying throughout the first half of the service (if you wondered). No, I won't tell you why- there are one or more conversations I need to have before I even consider making the source of my tears public. I may never blog about why, except for the fact that pregnancy hormones are really a pain for me, being that I hate crying in public, and I can usually get away with surrepticiously wiping away a few tears rather than full-on public bawling for half an hour. Jeff said he was proud of me for being real- I'd be proud if I'd had a choice about it, but I didn't (unless you consider I could have chosen to run to the restroom wet-faced, thereby drawing even more attention, which isn't much of a choice. Crying in bathrooms echoes, anyway, and since we were sitting next to the band, I felt more secure staying put). I'd make a longer post, but it's midterms this week and I really need to get my spanish verbs down. Good night.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What ho, pottery?

Just because I know you're all dying of curiosity about my english prof, I thought I'd let you know that he's got a pottery show going this weekend at the Monticello community center. Apparently he usually has a mixed showing of pots and sculpture, but this time it's pure pottery. I don't know if it's a one-man show or not, but I'm afraid to put his name up here, in case he googles it and finds my blog (but it's Chris Oveson). I'm gonna try to go, but with all we have going on this weekend, who knows if I'll make it. Plus it just kind of seems like an ass-kissing thing to do, so I'm uncertain if I should. Anyone that goes, let me know- I've never been to a pottery show.

can't we just elect someone already?

Allie and I had a talk about voting yesterday, after another shameless guilt trip on the part of PBS Kids about how kids should make their parents vote (in theory, I agree- but it seems like a pretty heavy trip to lay on a 4 or 5 year old, who may suffer guilt about a parent's refusal to vote for a long time after...ok, that doesn't read like a joke. sigh). Anyway, I reassured Allie that Jeff and I both have every intention of voting before I go to Spanish class on Election Day (do polls open at 7 or 8? I haven't been able to get a definitive answer). Anyone who wants to see the voting guilt trip, tune in to TPT 17 at about 6:28 pm.

Allie: Mom, don't vote for that guy you don't like. (that would be Bush- we watched part of the debates together last week)
Me: No, honey, I'm not going to.
Allie: You should vote for who I'm going to vote for.
Me: Oh? Who are you voting for?
Allie: That girl that is running.
Me: (beaming with pride) Well, sadly, honey, there isn't a girl running. But if there was, I'd probably vote for her. (Of course, I'm not counting David Cobb's running mate Pat LaMarche, but I promised Jimmy I wouldn't vote third party. Resist...resist...)

I love this kid, I really, really love this kid. I feel sort of bad that Gabe and Eva don't get as much type here- I guess it's just that they don't talk as much as Allie. Eva, however, has started doing a really good Allie impersonation- you just have to ask her what movie she wants to watch..."how 'bout.....ummmmm..."

Anyone who likes (or at least isn't threatened by) silent films should dig up a copy of Metropolis somewhere and watch it posthaste. Interesting film. Anyone who has the anime Metropolis (loosely connected to the aforementioned silent film), can earn Jeff's and my eternal thanks and devotion by loaning it to us. You could probably get us to do karaoke or something equally humiliating for it, too. Speaking of film, Jeff and I finished Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night...good flick. It reminded me a lot of Jeff and I in less-happy times (adolescence, that is, well, mostly. short version- depressed codependents should not date each other).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Blinky just kicked me. I forgot how odd that feels.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

No, thanks

Anyone want my recommended flu vaccine?

I'm really trying to understand the rationale for stating that healthy women with no risk factors should get the vaccine simply because they happen to be pregnant. I'm supposed to be considered of equal priority with a healthcare worker in direct contact with patients, or someone aged 2-64 with an underlying chronic health problem? I don't get it. I'll probably never get it. It makes about as much sense as routine electronic fetal monitoring and confinement to bed during labor.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I never thought on posting Sunday night that the next morning I wouldn't be able to sit at the computer for two days. Monday morning I woke up and after I got out of bed, realized that I had injured my back again. Probably all the kid-carrying I did over the weekend. Big thanks to Jimmy, without whose willing arms (and back) I would probably have made things worse by carrying Eva on the way back from our after-breakfast walk. After skipping class two days this week (the very thought of sitting at those desks brought on spasms, although I did manage to make it in for my Spanish exam), and making Jeff come home from work Tuesday, I've learned some useful things about pain:

1. It's worse if you hold your breath (really, I learned this in labor, but I didn't realize it had general application until yesterday).
2. Kisses really do help (thanks, Allie, Gabe, Eva, and Jeff- all of whom gave me extra yesterday).
3. Regardless of how bad sudden movement hurts, your nerves will still react involuntarily to catch a falling child.
4. Tylenol doesn't do squat. And since I'm pregnant, I feel guilty taking it.
5. Grinding your teeth against the pain when you're asleep will provide you with a useful distraction from how much your back hurts when you wake up.
6. Even excruciating, awful pain that makes me cry does not cancel out the great weekend I had. I'd do it again- but more carefully.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more stamina for posting- right now my back and I are both tired.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Back soon...

I was really, really, honestly going to post tonight, then I ended up sitting here falling asleep while trying to check my email- not a good sign. Since my kids are all in bed, I'm going to take this opportunity to sleep as well. The retreat this weekend was awesome fun. Tomorrow I will find the energy for a "real" post. Meanwhile everyone should go bookmark this in preparation for the next presidential debate (and to read up on how the candidates got their facts a bit, um, "mixed up" during the last one).

I'm still doing ok, starting to feel normal again, finally. Although school is taking up so much time that I'm still fighting against being overwhelmed. Somehow, I will get the hang of this. Still no Minneapolis date for Over the Rhine this winter. I'm gonna be really bummed if they don't make it here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Somehow I am managing to keep up. A's on both tests, and hopefully a B+ on my paper on Jungian Archetypes (never read anything about Jung before, but I used this book for research and ended up reading the whole thing 'cause I found it fascinating). Obviously I haven't gotten the paper back yet, but I asked for an A-/B+ (since my simultaneously loveable and evil prof made us tell him what we thought we deserved). Part of me now regrets that I did not ask for an A. Because I think it might deserve it- it's just such a struggle to be accurate and fair and objective about my own work. Especially written.

A belated apology to anyone who read my last post and thought I was angry or upset at being asked about having twins again, or having an ultrasound. I wasn't and am not even a little annoyed, so I'm sorry if it sounded as if I was. I just wanted an excuse to rant about those ultrasound boutiques, which I could go on for pages about. And the overuse of ultrasound in general, especially in normal pregnancy. If y'all haven't figured it out yet, I'm a complete birth junkie. Normal, non-medical birth is one of my great passions. At one point, I was going to train as a midwife- I still might, when my kids are grown and being on call all the time isn't a big deal. So please be patient with me if you're more medically-minded- and please be honest with me if you feel something I say is offensive or hurtful. I can be very opinionated, and while I try to let my acceptance of other paths come through in what I write, for some reason, it doesn't show as much when birth is the topic. I don't want to spend every other sentence apologizing for my views or explaining, either, so I'm taking it on trust that you who read this will love me enough to show me honesty and allow me the chance to ask forgiveness if I hurt you.

OK well, I'm really tired and have probably left the kids as long as I can without disaster ensuing. More later, hopefully. I'm really missing my blog time lately.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

In the thick of it

This has been such a run-ragged week, I don't even know where to start. It's not likely to get better soon, either- I have exams on Thursday (Spanish) and Friday (Finance), and a paper on Jungian archetypes (which I have not started) due Monday. Did I mention that the paper is 10% of my grade? I could just weep.

I'm finally starting to "feel" pregnant, and the tiredness and nausea are subsiding a bit. Yesterday I got an unexpected package in the mail from my yahoogroup buddies Kristin, Kellee, and Bobbi, who sent a bunch of wonderful little things- organic ginger tea (which reminds me, I started steeping a cup approximately 3 hrs ago and never drank it), organic red raspberry leaf tea (yummy), preggie pops- which are little suckers that are supposed to help with nausea, ginger bath salts, talcum powder with ground rose petals in it, a pregnancy calendar, and a gorgeous royal-purple silk eye pillow filled with peppermint and lavender. I've never thought of myself as the eye-pillow type, but laying down with it on my face feels sooooo good, and almost decadent.

A lot of people want to know if I'm having twins again, and if I'll get an ultrasound this time (since I didn't last time). No to both! Unless my midwife specifically wants me to get an ultrasound. I'm not nearly sick enough for this to be another pair of babes, and I'm not big enough either (I was in maternity clothes- for comfort's sake- by now last time). My midwife will be able to confirm that it's a single in another two months or so, just by feel. As far as Allie is concerned, it is one baby, a girl, who will be named Eva "just like the other one". I wonder what she's going to do if Blinky turns out to be male? Ask God for an exchange?

Speaking of ultrasounds...can I just say that I find this new trend of on-demand ultrasound franchises makes me a little ill? ACOG still doesn't recommend routine ultrasound screening of low-risk women (even though the vast majority doctors order them, and most low-risk women get them anyway). It's never been tested for safety in regards to developing babies (I know, no one's complained that it hurt their baby, but how can you find out if something's wrong when you refuse to look?). Get this:
...the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine warns that although there
are no confirmed biological effects from prenatal ultrasounds, possible problems
could be identified in the future, especially because these unregulated scans
are longer, use more energy and can be more frequent.
..."Ultrasound is a
form of energy, and even at low levels, laboratory studies have shown it can
produce physical effects in tissue, such as jarring vibrations and a rise in
temperature," the FDA said. Because of this, "prenatal ultrasounds can't be
considered completely innocuous."

Nice. Funny, I don't remember any sort of informed consent happening when I got my early ultrasound with Allie...

Allie started preschool Monday. I'm not sure I like the program, or the teacher's assistant...ok, to be honest, I'm sure I don't like the TA, but it's a completely irrational feeling based on gut only. The program seems too structured for three-year-olds to me. But I'm giving it a chance, because first of all, they're early childhood educators and I'm not, and second, I just naturally resist structure and I have to remind myself that just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's evil. As much as I'd like to translate my preferences into moral law, I'll resist. It's harder than it sounds.

Ahhh I think I'm ready for that eye pillow. And bed.

Monday, September 06, 2004


I thought I was over morning sickness already, but it is back with a vengeance. Nothing sounds worth eating, but if I don't eat I get sicker. Yippee. At least I'm not barfing. Although I'm still considering pitching a deal to God where I get to only have morning sickness *half my waking hours in exchange for puking once or twice a day. Sounds fair to me.

Everything makes me cry, which made me apparently look really depressed at church yesterday. Shelly (sp? help!) was really sweet and checked on me. Unfortunately I'm not really good at being honest with people. I want to repay their kindness in asking about me by being right as rain. Screwed up, yes. Then as I cried all the way home, Allie told me and her daddy that I'm not allowed to be sad, which made me sadder. I know she only meant that she wants me to be happy, but it felt like a bad echo of childhood. And like maybe I haven't given her the permission and space she needs to feel things besides happy. I really don't want to pass on emotion-stuffing. So Jeff was very patient with her but explained that it is ok for people to feel however they happen to feel. We ended up going out later Sunday night to get me a hot-water bottle, because I had a splitting headache from end of church on, and it was getting worse. Church gives me a headache! Haha. I don't know why, but 9 out of 10 times leaving church I have one. It might be dehydration, which I am trying to fight faithfully (by drinking half-liters of water at least 5 times a day). It might be stress. It might just be that it's been almost 4 weeks since I was last adjusted- going in Friday. We'll probably be getting haircuts as well. I don't really want to cut Gabe's hair- I kind of want to grow his out. Am I a total freak? He's just such a sweet, affectionate, sensitive boy, a crewcut just doesn't seem right (even though, I'll admit, it does look cute). We'll see.

So Allie wants a baby girl. Jeff wants a baby boy. I don't think I really have a preference, but my gut says this one's another girl (did I already say that?).

I should mention, that I definitely won the husband lottery. Not only did he go out in flash flood conditions to get my hot-water bottle, he decided I needed tiramisu when we were grocery shopping tonight. And he admitted to me when I asked for a bite of his chocolate chip cookie the other night that technically everything he has (even a cookie) is half-mine for the asking. I didn't know that. But you can bet I won't forget it!

They Come Like That?

Or, what happens when you leave the room to make lunch. They find Allie's self-inking butterfly stamp and suck on it, then they climb into a potty box and cover each other with white circle sticker labels. Posted by Hello

Allie in a dirty shirt and her best friend Micka in full princess regalia Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 02, 2004

the good, the bad, y el feo

So this has been pretty much the week from hell. Gabe decided over the weekend that he was going to start getting his 3rd and 4th eyeteeth, so he's been waking me up around 3 or 4 AM and keeping me up for an hour or two by screaming inconsolably. I was staying up too late helping Jeff with algebra- midnight or later, when I have to get up by 7 at the latest. I haven't been drinking enough water, so I've had a dehydration headache almost every day. Oh, remember me just mentioning Gabe screaming in the morning? Wednesday morning I was awake laying next to him, trying to talk to him, sing to him, get him to nurse, whatever would calm him down, when Jeff got woken up- not by Gabe, but by a sherrif who had been called to investigate my son's tortured crying. It was a still, foggy morning, and I imagine it carried pretty well- especially when you consider the window was open, and we sleep less than a foot from it. And the fact that houses here are about 10-15 ft apart. The sherrif (and the city cop who joined him) were really nice, and Gabe even smiled for them after a diaper change and some kids' Motrin. But it still made me have a really shitty day. I am always looking for reasons to shame myself as a mother, and this one was first-rate. After I got to English (late), I swear I caught my prof looking at me funny. We wrote an essay in class Monday, and I've been obsessing about it. I started crying while I was writing it (crappy hormones), and a tear dropped on the page and blurred one of the lines. I hope he didn't notice that, or the fact that I was crying to begin with. He probably thinks I'm a fruitcake.

There have been a lot of good things, though. My Spanish class is a lot of fun, and I feel like I'm picking it up rather well. I can actually carry on a conversation in Spanish now, provided I'm only expected to talk about what someone has or is wearning, or how they look. And only in present tense. Well, I guess I can introduce people and produce a little chit-chat, too. I love my English class, too. That's why it bothers me that my prof may think I'm insane. I really love him already, and I want him to think I'm ferociously intellegent and a fantastic writer. Now, if he thinks I'm also crazy, well and good. But believing I'm crazy and an average or just-ok writer, that would suck. I could care less about my Financial Planning prof's opinion- but then, I tend to form really strong attachments to my English profs. I have a long history of it. In Financial Planning, I have to fight just to stay awake.

It has also been good to get out of the house every day. Not that it has given me any more patience for my kids, kind of the opposite. But that is probably more due to exhaustion than anything else. I really like college, a lot. Unfortunately, Allie has been less than pleased at me being dropped off every morning. Then, she's unhappy when Jeff leaves for school and work. This actually started before school did- but then it was just Jeff leaving for work that got her upset. It seems to be some sort of separation anxiety- I didn't know kids could still have that at almost-4. But she's been the exception for all the other rules, I guess- why not this, too? I'm trying not to beat myself up about it being a sign of insecure attachment or something like that. I don't think it is. I think it's just Allie.

I think our baby (yes, I'm 99% sure it's a singleton) is a girl. I've been calling her "Blinky" for no reason, except that tiny embryos look sort of lightbulb-shaped. Poor Gabe. He's gonna be one great husband, growing up with all these women.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Five Good Things (and One Bad One) About Today

1. I distinctly heard my Personal Financial Planning Prof say the words "minimal homework"
2. There is a usage error on my English Prof's syllabus ("your" instead of "you're")
3. All of my profs have a sense of humor
4. Jeff and I got to listen to The Fire Theft really loud on the way home from my PE orientation, because the kids were at home with grandma and grandpa
5. BBQ for dinner from the Rib Cage. Yummmmm!

The one bad thing is that Over the Rhine has still not booked a Minneapolis date for this fall. Nuts. And I don't have their new live album yet. But I remain hopeful on both counts.

Have a great weekend, all. I'm off to get at least 9 hours of sleep. Jeff is out seeing Stavesacre at Club 3 Degrees.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

blogger ate my post

I really hate internal server errors.


I am officially a borderline narcoleptic. I can't carry on a coherent phone conversation, because of my constant yawning. I made it through my first class today- Spanish I- barely. Tomorrow I have Freshman Eng II, and an hour earlier at that. I'm going to die, honestly. There isn't coffee strong enough to keep me awake, and if there is, I'm not supposed to drink it anyway. I took an hour-long nap on the couch this afternoon- with two of my children awake. Luckily I when I woke up, the house was intact and so were their sweet little bodies (and they weren't covered in Vaseline or some other unknown substance either, which was an added blessing).

Jeff needs some algebra help, so I'm off to have some fun. I'm like my calc teacher in high school, who coached the math team (the Park Center Pi-Rats...get it?). I made so much fun of him, because he would almost start foaming at the mouth when he got really excited about a particular principle or problem. He was a great teacher, though. And right now, I am just very grateful that there are people in my life who are filled with passion, even if it is for something I detest (like calc). My passion right now is learning a bit of useable Spanish, and I guess searching for God's voice, which is currently stifled under a pile of busyness.

Anyone want to share their current passion?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

blah blah blah

I am freaking out that school is starting for us tomorrow. Part of it is that I didn't get my driver's license on the timeline we wanted, so Jeff's going to be dropping me off and picking me up for maybe as much as a month, which stinks (I'll take my test the 22nd of Sept). Then there's this big conflict with Allie's preschool schedule- Jeff's in class when she needs to be dropped off, and when she needs to be picked up. Time to call in a favor from the across-the-street neighbor, I guess. At least she doesn't start till the 13th, and it's only 2 days/wk. The joys of living in the frickin' sticks. I can't even get a bus out here- and for a girl started riding the 5 route downtown to meet her mom for lunch when she was about 11, that is crippling (16 years, kids).

My legs are feeling better, most of the time. I was hoping for that, because the thought that they were only going to get progressively worse for the next 7.5 months was excruciating. See, despite what Jeff claims, and how I handle labor pain would suggest, at heart I'm a pain wimp. I cry over stomachaches. I'd cry over my worse headaches, but it makes it worse, so I do my best not to. I really wish I had known about chiropractic when I was pregnant with Allie. That's when the sciatica started. Doctor gave me a scrip for about 10 Tylenol with codiene and told me to only take one when I felt really horrible- which luckily wasn't too often. After I had her, another doctor refused to give me a refill on the prescription, because I was nursing. Um, so it's ok when she's sharing my bloodstream, but after that all bets are off? Whatever. I didn't start seeing a chiro until Gabe and Eva were just out of the hospital. By then I was in pretty bad shape- I ended up immobile on the couch, crying every time I had to change position even slightly (which, with newborn twins, was pretty often). One of the reasons we had decided not to have more children was my back- I was afraid another pregnancy would cripple me. Hopefully, I can just keep things from getting any worse.

But as far as morning sickness and the rest goes, I have an easy time of it, so I can deal with my back. I just have to find a way to tell my chiro that I'm pregnant. She's going to have a coronary.

I still haven't called my midwife. Procrastination is just a way of life for me, I guess.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

surprise, surprise

Well, I've been thinking and thinking and trying to come up with a way to talk to people about this, but I'm just too...I don't know. Shy? Confrontation-phobic? Whatever.

Anyway, here's the deal. We're having a baby. Again. For various good reasons, this is a shock (to rather understate things). I've run the whole gamut of emotional responses this week- joy, guilt, anger, terror, and a sadness almost akin to grief. I am having a hard time believing it most of the time, although the constant pain in my legs is testimony to the truth of the situation. I want to be deliriously happy, but I know how much my back and legs hurt by 2nd trimester last time, and I only had one kid then. Money, too, is a constant worry. Especially since I won't be working next summer, as I was planning to.

I'm going ahead with school for now, at least the winter term. I don't think I'll make it for spring, unless the profs are generous and let me sling the babe to class the last few weeks- we'll have it sometime in the spring. Fat chance of that (the slinging part). The plan is to welcome this one at home. I just have to double-check everything with my midwife and make sure she's comfortable with my history and whatall. One of the bright spots is, although we weren't planning on more children (and yes, we were taking precuations), for the first time, we did this right and I'm not going to have to deal with PPD and SAD at the same time. Maybe I won't have PPD this time! One can only hope and pray.

A friend of mine, Abby, who lives in Maine, is going to a birth blessing ceremony this weekend for two women who are near to their time...I'm trying to work out if this is something I want to do. The guests are bringing beads with symbolic meanings (one example, someone is bringing a bead with a boat to symbolize a journey, and a clear one for clarity of mind), and a piece of poetry or a quote or blessing.

We have so few positive ceremonies and rituals surrounding pregnancy and birth in this culture- all I can think of is the baby shower. And those aren't really my thing- I had one with Allie, and I got a lot of stuff I really didn't want- a playpen, bottles, that kind of thing ("oh, you'll want to give her a bottle once in a while!" um, no, I really won't- it's more trouble than it's worth!). As far as I know, we in this culture don't have any rituals to mark the loss of a baby, whether early pregnancy, late, or in infancy. Funerals, yeah, if the loss isn't early in pregnancy- but, personally, it doesn't seem like enough, by any stretch. I have more than a few friends who have suffered this unimaginable kind of loss, and it just seems unthinkable- the things they are told, the way they are treated. "Oh, I had that happen once", a fellow patient in the OB/Gyn waiting room told my friend Kristin right after her second miscarriage, as though she was talking about buying the wrong brand of toothpaste or getting stuck in the rain.

Are we so absolutely incompetent when it comes to dealing with any sort of emotional or spiritual pain that when we are confronted with it in this distilled, crystal-hard form, the loss of a child, that we feel we must intentionally trivialize it- because facing it is too difficult? Is it so hard to offer hands and arms for comfort without the burden of our words, which will always fall short, and too often wound instead of heal? I know for me, the answer is yes. The temptation is to talk and talk and talk and talk, because the words provide a distance from the pain. We tell people, basically, to get over it, "oh, you weren't really that far along, were you? It's not like you lost a baby", to get on with things, because grief is a naked thing, and this culture dislikes nakedness (unless you're selling beer). We are so addicted to the quick fix, the fool-proof plan, and emotions are so messy. Grieving people don't play by the rules.

I don't know why I am in such a sarcastic and caustic mood tonight. I think I am just really hormonal and conflicted right now. I am feeling so strongly what Jenell said a few days ago- this is so obviously unfair. And I just don't know how to deal with that. I just don't know. I just know that I'm glad it is the weekend and most people at SP won't be reading this till Monday morning. I'm just not feeling very up to dealing with facing my mixed emotions right now. I'm sorry, everyone.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

things i love

I've decided I need to lighten up a little, for the time being at least. So here, in no particular order, are some things I love (family and friends are a given).

Tami's Soaps- especially Woodstock and Fresh Squeezed
Burt's Bees Bay Rum cologne , especially when I can get it wholesale
cats, especially now that we don't have one :(
browsing in a bookstore or library
sleeping late (we're talking 11 am, at least)
staying up late (2 or 3 am- thus the love for sleeping late)
math, especially algebra
playing Hi Ho Cherry-O with Allie
Conceptis Puzzles (mostly the Pic-A-Pix puzzles, which I am hopeless at, but enjoy anyway)
The Brick Testament
effortless activism

Hope all have a lovely Wednesday!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

in memoriam

This is Aidan. He turned four a few months ago, making him just a little older than my Allie. He lives in Dublin and is the only child of my friends Jerome and Johanna. Jerome died last September of Hodgkin's disease. He would have been 30 today. Say a quick prayer for Jo and Aidan today if you can.

You know how certain people are so full of life and love and joy that you just can't imagine them dying? That's Jerome. I miss you, my friend.Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 12, 2004

My inner child

My inner child is ten years old today

My inner child is ten years old!

The adult world is pretty irrelevant to me. Whether
I'm off on my bicycle (or pony) exploring, lost
in a good book, or giggling with my best
friend, I live in a world apart, one full of
adventure and wonder and other stuff adults
don't understand.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Bobbi at emerging sideways for the chance to muse about my terribly neglected small self.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In lieu of cards...

Happy birthday, Jeffy! Those wanting to wish Jeff a happy birthday (and congratulate him for putting up with my crazy ass!) should go here.

How is it possible that we're having October weather on your birthday, honey?? Doesn't seem right. I love you always and through everything. I'm for some reminded of the fact that I recovered from Gabe and Eva's birth in the same room at North Memorial in which your mom recovered from your birth- it still seems really weird.

To those brave compassionate souls who have been commenting on my blog: thank you, thank you, thank you. Every word is life to me.

final thoughts on kidd's book

Well, this afternoon I finished the book, and I find that I'm seeing it a little differently than yesterday. It's hard, because this is so outside of my very limited knowledge of the finer points of Christian tradition and orthodoxy. First off, I think the implied disdain of women who search for feminine expression inside the church is mostly a figment of my overactive imagination. And I think some of the reasons her story doesn't totally strike a chord for me is that I didn't grow up in the church (and more specifically, a Baptist church in the south during the 50's). Some of her struggle I just can't relate to, because I was born around 30 years later. I've never been a pastor's wife either, and I can certainly imagine the oppresion and narrowness of that for someone who feels dissatisfied within her religious tradition. The fact is, I might feel much the same if I was still going to the evangelical church I first "met" God in as a teenager. Maybe the drastic path she took felt like the only one available. Being outside of the evangelical church for so long has fostered forgetfulness about how confining it sometimes felt (I had stopped attending church pretty much completely for 3 or 4 years before starting to go to SP in 2002). The fact that she was willing to sacrifice her marriage to her spiritual quest still bothers me a bit, but I nearly trashed mine for a lesser reason, so.

I still can't decide whether my reaction to her speaking about Goddess is a leftover evangelical reflex or a true line being crossed. When she is talking about the Goddess (or Feminine Divine, etc), from my POV, it really seems consistent with things I would attribute to the God I know, not a separate deity. And her journey seems to have been "ordained" or "blessed" in some sense that I find hard to explain. Maybe it's just a semantic difference, and if she used a different word, I wouldn't have the hangup I do. I don't get the sense that she has returned to the church (or ever will), but she does explicitly forgive the wrongs that were done to her within the church, which is a point a lot of people who leave the church never get to. It still seems like she harps a little too much on the sins of patriarchy to me, but as I mentioned above, that could just be a difference between her context and mine.

I don't know what to think, really. It's an interesting book- not one I'd give to my mother-in-law (who goes to Open Door), but still interesting, and parts of it I really liked. Maybe I'll get ambitious one day when I don't have anything to write about and quote it for y'all.

Edited to add: I'm not suggesting that using God rather than Goddess is always a semantic difference. I'm just pondering that as a possibility in this specific case.

Monday, August 09, 2004

feminine divine?

For a few days now I've been reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. Now, I'm not recommending it, because to be honest, I'm having trouble getting into it. I should have read the subtitle more carefully, I guess (A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine). I guess I'll cover the problems I'm having with the book, and then try to explain why I was interested in it in the first place.

So, she's this Baptist pastor's wife, and grew up in the Baptist church. Over time, she experiences what she terms a "feminist awakening" that leads her first away from the Baptists, but everntually away from Christianity entirely. She starts investigating feminine deities of other traditions, and also mythology. I can't really relate to that- although I do like myth and symbol. She and a friend who shares the journey with her sort of invent rites and rituals to mark significant points in their search for Goddess (which I totally dig- except for the Goddess part). More than once she talks about how we have to shed all the trappings of our patriarchal programming (which honestly made me roll my eyes a little), and if we don't allow our search to take us outside of Christianity (which is a "male" religion), the implication is that we're clinging to the forces that oppress us or it's a knee-jerk reaction of our programming (more eyerolling here). I don't think that every woman needs to do that to find completeness- and therein lies the danger of generalizing our own path into THE path.

Now, I admire her courage to follow her heart, but I can't relate to her faith journey a whole lot. I was initially interested in the book for the title (which one of us girls hasn't been a dissident daughter at one point, if only inside?), and the fact that she had been a writer of Christian inspirational nonfiction. I figured she was someone who might be searching for some of the same things I'm searching for. A balance between male and female, not only within church authority, but also terminology. A way to express faith that is feminine and Christian. I don't want a new God, thanks, I like my current one just fine. I think it's kind of cruel to blame God for the lack of balance within the church, actually. To be fair, she doesn't demonize men (maybe that's why I felt like her blame was on God, by default). And there have been passages here and there that I have loved. Like when she's talking about exploring the feminine dimensions of the sacraments (communion in terms of breastfeeding, baptism in terms of amniotic fluid). Or exploring the role of Wisdom in Jewish tradition, and Sophia/Logos in the NT. But then she just veers off toward the Goddess again, and loses me. It's funny, after I got baptized, I was thinking of rebirth and Jesus' words that we must be born again- and how birth is an exclusively female domain. God as Mother! It helped me feel a little less nervous about the psalm I wrote.

Anyway, I got started on posting about this based on a post of Rachelle's (it's from July 26th, for some reason her whole sidebar of links/archives seems to be gone). Actually, it was a quote she posted from the book that made me want it in the first place, weeks ago. So. It's a lot to chew on, but not as helpful as I hoped. Since I'm being forced to consider a calling to the pastorate (the guy with the gun to my head? that would be my husband), I am kind of mulling over what we as women have to offer as leaders of the church, besides being female (which, in fairness, I think is a lot to begin with). What ways do we hear/see/talk to/imagine God that are uniquely ours? I love Christ's church, and I'd rather contribute to it than leave for any "Goddess".

So, am I just making a big deal out of nothing when it comes to the Goddess? Maybe it comes from having a lot of Wiccan friends. I just don't see Goddess-worship in that sort of form as compatable with the way of Jesus (although I admit to wishing more Christians had that kind of respect for the Earth!). Lay some feedback on me, peeps!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

letting go of my "specialness"

I've been zipping around the Enneagram book that we bought a few weeks ago for the past week or so. I'm reading more than I'm absorbing, but I have still found some useful insight, although it's not the most welcome kind. I'm a four (4w5, to be more specific), as I said in an earlier post, and in some ways, knowing that is encouraging, and in some ways it is really hard. I don't know if this will make any sense to someone who is *not a four, but I'm going to plug away anyhow.

I'm a near-textbook four. One of the ways fours tend to define themselves is by their individuality or "specialness". In healthy circumstances, this can be a good thing. It can take the form of personal expression that is creative and distinct, but universal. I wish I was more like that, more of the time. In my experience, its unhealthier forms take the shape of a feeling of inherent defectiveness, "no one understands", and feeling threatened by others' ideas and advice- part of me wants to go back and rewrite the second sentence of this paragraph, because it sounds too much like the book. I have an intense need to be self-contained and self-sufficient. I withdraw to get attention. It sounds like a bad idea, and it usually is. I remember the heartbreak of my adolescent relationship with my parents- as my brother acted out for attention, and I acted in. I hid, hoping that my mom or dad would notice that I was hiding and come "find" me. In reality, I think they were a bit relieved that I wasn't a big drain on their attention and time. My brother was difficult- unpredictable, physically and verbally abusive, and often out of control. They gave up after several years of hearing why his problems were all their fault (combined with my dad's unwillingness to participate in family counseling).

I dreamed about being adopted, about my "real" family coming to rescue me (textbook four, once again). I started dating Jeff just before my 15th birthday, and he did his best to rescue me himself. I was living with my godparents at the time (my uncle and aunt). I have a few vivid memories of the first few months there- adjusting to people who had clear expectations of my behavior, but who were in many ways no more helpful than my parents. My dad at the exit interview for the home for runaways that I stayed at for a week before moving in with my godparents, responding emotionlessly to a gentle question from the counselor, "I'm not sure I consider her my daughter". I remember breaking up with the boyfriend that had landed me at their house (not Jeff), and sawing the skin on my ring finger open with a butter knife. I remember sitting in front of a full bottle of Tylenol one night trying to decide if it was worth living another day, and when I broke out of the trance long enough to sob to my aunt that I wanted to die, her reply was "don't be stupid, go to bed." And I did, but once again, I had been misunderstood and my pain invalidated.

I've since forgiven my dad; forgiven both my parents. Both of them tried, but life with my brother was like living with the constant threat of nuclear attack- you hunker down and cover your head and wait for the explosion. But I carried the victimhood and misunderstood-ness into adulthood. When no explosion is imminent, I create one. I create no-win situations for those closest to me and use their failure to perfectly validate me as an excuse to retreat into myself. One of Jeff's most frequent complaints is that I expect him to read my mind- and he's absolutely right. Some voice inside says, "if he really loved you, really loved you, he'd just know." Then that message turns to, "he doesn't understand you and he never will. You are different and will never find someone who understands." And that is a lie. It's the same lie I told myself when my parents took three years to notice my depression and get me treatment in junior high, and countless times since. The truth is, no one can understand me when I am concentrating all my effort into being misunderstood. When I refuse to let anyone in.

God's truth is that I am indeed different- and special. But that it doesn't take the form of being irreparably flawed and in need of rescue. My difference does not have to be defined in negative terms- that I'm not like anyone else, that I can't be (outgoing, strong, capable, etc). I don't know what shape my uniqueness and calling takes, yet- but I'm glad to be setting out anyhow. I'm tired enough of repeating the past that I'm ready to risk letting go. What was it Anais Nin said? Ah, yes..."And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. " Part of me instinctively recoils from such inspirational-poster sentiment, but there is truth in it nonetheless.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Yesterday was my birthday, and I feel very blessed. I can't remember a time that so many of my friends called or wrote to me to wish me happiness. My parents anniversary was also this week (Tuesday), and it is another blessing that I have parents who are still together and love each other after 31 years.

I'm still feeling ok, but I've been worried about school, because I'm exhausted all the time. Because of Jeff's class needs, I have to take morning courses. I'm not a morning person. To put it mildly. Especially once the days start getting shorter.

It is an intense struggle to write tonight. I thought I had broken out of being depressed, but I think I was fooling myself a little. I tend to think that one good day, or even a good few hours, means I'm back to good, when that is soooo not the case. Sometimes I think that depression is less an emotion and more of an emotional filter- it lets bad stuff sift through (like fighting with Jeff this morning), but keeps good stuff out of my heart (like the TRUTH that people do love me, and I do matter to them- for heaven's sake, they just called me yesterday!). God grant me eyes that see through that filter.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. I feel like I am past the worst, and moving toward being "normal" again. Just in time for my slow autumn slide into SAD ;) But I have a light box to treat that, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

This has been way too busy a weekend (Jeff's weekends are Sunday/Monday, so those are the days I'm talking about). Barbecue and church on Sunday, and today we scrambled around and ended up going to IKEA for the afternoon, then to my parents' house after. They just opened one here, right across the street from the Mall of America. It would have been a lot of fun, except that Gabe and Eva were overstimulated about halfway through the store, so we spent the last half of the afternoon fighting meltdowns. Found three or four pieces of furniture I'd like, but can't afford. Yay.

I really, really feel like writing more tonight, but we signed up to do a day of Vecinos Summer Day Camp, and it's tomorrow. We have to be at church by the unholy hour of nine in the morning. Which means my wake up call is coming in about six hours. The theme of the day is Faithfulness, so we are going to be doing some fun relay races during the activity part of the time. Wish us luck!

Friday, July 30, 2004


I can almost remember a time in my life when I thought depression was a feeling.  That it was being sad all the time.  Not wanting to smile, crying a lot, acting, well, depressed.  I know better now.  There are certainly times when depression manifests that way for me, but usually that is not the case.  It would be easier by far if it were.  Then I'd have a few days of sobbing a lot, and I'd clue in pretty quickly to what was going on.  I should clue in to what is going on- I've been dealing with this for over a decade.  But it takes weeks, usually, before I realize it.

For me, depression is more like inertia.  First I just get tired, and maybe irritable.  I start snapping at stupid things, yelling at the kids and Jeff, feeling absolutely unable to drag my ass out of bed in the morning.  I start staying up later, because I really need some time alone, which obviously doesn't help the tiredness.  And slowly, so slowly I can't even tell till it's really taken hold, all the joy and life just drains right out of me and I end up sleepwalking through my life.  When I'm really depressed, I actually cry less, because strong emotion is something I can't access easily.  I become a completely cerebral and selfish creature, living only in my mind, which chases its tail endlessly, and existing only to serve my needs, which are mainly to sleep and find excuses to not show up for my life.  Now I know that on some level, this is just basic necessity- I'm too sick to live, so I just function until I get a bit better.  But I also know that I don't have the luxury of withdrawing completely.  I have a family, kids, friends, and a husband who need me.  And I know that my withdrawal does not serve the cause of health.  I can only get better by letting people help me.  Yuck.  Have I talked about how I hate needing help?

So thank you, all of you, who have been here, bearing witness, standing with me and standing for me.   Thank you Anj, for helping me see that this is a chance to give a gift to my children, who can learn that it's ok to have problems and not hide them.  I fear their pain at seeing me in need, especially my oldest, but I am starting to feel that God wants me to allow them to minister to me.  Thank you Sarah for coming over so many times these past few weeks, even though it's a long drive and I can't just hang out when you're here.  Thank you Rachel.  Thank you KP.  And thank you all the women (well, mostly women) whose words I read today and came away feeling a bit encouraged and a lot less alone.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Not now...

So I was reading this book tonight, and there was an exercise in it- the instructions were to tune in to your heart, get a feel for what was going on there, and what things felt like, how they looked, smelled, whatever.

Mine feels insulated.  The first thing I thought of was that it was wrapped in some kind of styrofoam-y packing stuff (not the peanuts, but the kind that's sort of like a sticky sheet- ya know?).  So I decided I'd better "unwrap" it and find out if there was a reason for the padding, and what was going on underneath it.  It's not in good shape.  Purple was the first impression I got.  Bruised.  And bleeding, although from a lot of little wounds rather than one big one.  Which just confirms the realization I've been struggling with for a few days now.  I'm depressed again.  I should have clued in when I started staying up till 3 or 4 in the morning, having trouble sleeping, not wanting to eat, not doing housework...somehow it didn't click.  It's been a month since this started.  What I fail to understand is how someone so internally preoccupied could miss something like this.

I've kind of been on the run from it, I guess.  Refusing to confront it, because being depressed is a damn scary thing when you have three little lives who are dependent on you for most of their basic needs.  They need a mommy who feels like cooking and cleaning; changing their diapers and reading them stories.  Not a mommy who wants to curl up in bed and cry for a while, then sleep for days.  I don't want to be depressed right now.  I don't have time.  But I guess I don't have a choice, either.  And since I don't have the option right now of treating it with therapy or medication, I'll have to do my best to treat it by doing things.  Going through old boxes, organizing pictures, mopping my kitchen floor.  Which sounds about as appealing as dental surgery without anesthesia, honestly. 

In a way, the fact that I have kids right now is a good thing, because I can't become completely preoccupied with my internal life now, when I'm unhealthy.  But in a way, it's not good, because they deserve better than I can give them right now.  They deserve a Mommy who is at the top of her game. 

Monday, July 26, 2004


Ok well, yesterday I promised to get back on here and write about the intentional community meeting Friday night, and tonight I still don't really want to do it.  But I will, because otherwise I'm going to forget everything of value about it.

It started with a train wreck, which people who know us well, know is completely typical of anything we decide to undertake.  I made a dessert, and forgot it.  We also forgot hot dogs to grill, and buns.  Oh, and snacks for the kids.  So we had to stop on the way to buy cookies and hot dogs and buns.  I don't recommend stopping for groceries at 6 pm on a Friday.  The store is, um, kind of busy at that hour. 

So we got there.  Late.  But only by about 10 minutes, which is amazing, since I was sure Jeff had been in the store shopping at least an hour.  We got there, kids got in the pool (and out, and in, and out...), had dinner (fabulous salmon and bread and rice and potatoes and salad).  Had dessert.  Then Carla put in a movie for the kids so we could talk for a while.

She (Carla) said some really nice things about my writing here, which I think I was kind of brusque about- I don't handle praise well.  We talked about parenting, and the book she wrote about it (The Myth Of The Perfect Parent?  forgive me if that's off, and email me so I can fix it!!).  Conversation was kind of all over the place, it had been during dinner as well.  But at one point they started talking about enneagram types and so I got to read a little about those and decide what I was.  My memory for details is crap, I am really straining for more of the stuff we talked about, but all I can think of is my impressions (emotional and intellectual) of the night as a whole.  I knew I should have written this earlier!

It was really amazing, but it's almost impossible to explain with words.  Most everything we did and said was fairly mundane and non-earthshattering, but there was this intangible other in all of it.  I was surprised and delighted by the amount of good-natured teasing, and the complete absence of pretense.  Looking back, I shouldn't have been surprised at all.   There should always be joy in community, or we are doing it wrong!  I hope we get to go a few more times.  I think I am almost going to regret starting a group of our own, because we won't have any of them in it.  It's really tempting to say "forget it" to making our own group and sneakily become permanent (rather than visiting) members of this one.  I'm so lazy! 

I'm still feeling out this bad few days I'm having.  More on that later.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

What possible reason?

Well, I've now gone from being on the verge of tears all the way home last night (and since then) to crying in front of my computer  for no reason I can pin down.  I mean, I cry easily, but rarely without a reason.  Even at my most depressed, I at least have a manufactured reason.  This is a little scary.   Thank goodness Allie is playing with her friends in the yard, so I don't have to try to explain.  Whenever she sees me cry, she tries so hard to cheer me up, that I just cry harder.  And I'm afraid she may take my tears personally, like she's done something wrong.  I don't want her to internalize that message the way I adopted the idea that I was to blame for my parents' anger and bickering and abuse.

Oh God, what is this about? 

enneagram test

Well, here's one from the same site as before.  We were talking about enneagram types tonight, I pegged myself as a type 4, and indeed, that's what I scored as here:

 Conscious self
Overall self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

and here:


I had a really, really good time tonight, but for some reason it was also a really emotional experience for me, that's something that needs more processing.  I'll post about it tomorrow.  I should have been in bed hours ago.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Today was a really great day.  I was bummed since Jeff had to leave for work early so that he could meet with Jimmy about coming to see them and the rest of the intentional community group tomorrow night.  But then, I was talking to my buddy Sarah on the phone, and she not only offered to come visit and help me make the dessert I was preparing for tomorrow, but to bring dinner, too!  Wow, I am loved.  It was fun having her here, and I know the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.  She even helped with their baths, which is beyond awesome. 

We are going tomorrow not to join their group, which is kind of at capacity, but to get a feel for what it will be like to start our own.  I guess since we're organizing it, you could kind of call us the "leaders" of the group we're creating.  Which should make things interesting, since I've never led so much as a singalong.  I'm really excited to get to it, but I'm thrilled that Jimmy and Carla are willing to share some of their hard-earned insights with us.  It is nice to not have to be lonely pioneers in this. 

But I must admit to being a weensy bit jealous that Jeff was the one who got to go out for coffee!  I'm sure he's equally jealous that I got takeout for dinner.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

In search of a vocation

listening to: Jeff comforting Allie

I'm titling this one in honor of Jimmy's fantastic blog, and the fact that he asked the other day what those of us reading were in search of.  My sense of calling is currently so ambiguous and elusive that I'm really struggling with the idea of going back to school.  I love school, but with all the difficulties it is going to create having both of us take a full course load, it feels like I should have a clearer purpose for going than "because I like to learn".  Or "because in today's job market it is important to have a college degree".  Gag. 

Then I read Jen's post quoting Thomas Merton

"A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live. Thus, if one is called to be solitary,he will stop wondering how he is to live and start living peacefully only when he is in solitude. But if one is not called to a solitary life, the more he is alone the more will he worry about living andforget to live..."

It is obvious to me, reading that, that as stubborn an introvert as I am, solitude is not something I am called to.  Solitude allows my obsessiveness and melancholy too much rein.  I feel called to help people, to counsel them, speak words of healing and truth.  To listen to them.  To love them.  That last part, I think, disqualifies me from practicing psychology. 

I feel called to teach.  To communicate my deep sense of the love of God for the least of us, and to help us all develop a way of living in response to that love.  A way of living that communicates the love of God without a sermon, and better than words ever could.  In my experience, learning is a big part of teaching, and I feel called to that too.  I'm not much of a lecturer, though.  I prefer dialogue.  Being the "answer person" tempts me to pride; it also frustrates me.  So I don't see being a teacher as my gig, either.

I like to write, but it is something I cannot do without having events and people to feed the writing.  If I ever write a book, I guarantee you it will be non-fiction.  I love stories, but I can't write them.  So if I write, it will be secondary to my "real" job, and probably arise out of it.

Frederick Buechner said something to the effect that your calling is where the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness meet (forgive me for the paraphrase).  Jeff has had a strong sense of calling to become a pastor for about a decade now.  It's been confirmed by strangers, and as his wife, I've had more chances than most people to see how truly that calling reflects who he is.  What I can't see is my calling.  And people aren't exactly lining up to tell me, either. 

In feeling for the exact shape his calling will take, Jeff has always felt that he would be sort of a sidekick.  In a support role is, I guess, a more positive way of putting it.  In talking about it one night, I joked with him that we could start a church and he could be my second-in-command.  A light went on for him then, and it hasn't shut off since.  He says I am called to shepherd a church.  It is difficult, to put it mildly, for me to even seriously consider this.  The inner voices start clamoring.  "Who am I to-?  What makes me think-?  I'm hardly qualified, as screwed up as I am!"  But there is a small part of me that is excited to even consider it.  "You mean there's a job where I get to counsel, teach, help people, and love them?  This has to be too good to be true."

So I am trying to leave a space for the idea.  Because if he's right, I'd hate to let my insecurities stop me from doing the things I love.

I should have been a dancer!

Here's me dragging my soggy butt out of the water, and Doug laughing at my klutziness. Well, to be fair, he is probably just smiling, not laughing, or maybe he is laughing, but at my idiot decision to wear my shoes and socks in, rather than my complete lack of grace. For crying out loud, I look like I'm about to do that move from Karate Kid!  More pics from the baptism service can be found here and here (the latter has a super-cute photo of my Allie, way down at the bottom). Posted by Hello


If you have some time, I read a really interesting article today on greed.  One of the main thrusts of the arguments the author makes is that we need to reinstate the immoral/sinful nature of greed.  A lot of my pet issues (the prevalent power of commercialism, the unquestioned right of corporations to exercise power while answering only to shareholders) are things he touches on. 

Some highlights:

The evening news systematically distorts normal time. Downtown riots in Seattle are given less than a minute (some of which is the reporter's talking face), shift to shots of a dog frolicking in a fountain, shift to minutes of a freeway chase. The picturesque is pursued, the serious is trivialized.
These are moves in a war against logic. And if you watch television, you are having your thinking disrupted. The busy-ness of rapid shifts of focus, the effervescent color, the edgy, dramatic music, all make it difficult for viewers to build independent ideas.

Make no mistake, this is not an accident.  Television is a phenomenon alien to the human brain, and nothing will ever convince me that it's good for us.  There have been several studies showing that small children (under 3 years) experience changes in the way their brains are wired and developing as a result of viewing television.  Some have hypothesized that TV consumption by the very young may be at least partially responsible for the increasing rates of ADHD and other learning disabilities.  It certainly seems plausible.  What worries me is that kids start watching TV so young now- before they can even distinguish between fantasy and reality, much less understand the morality and underlying assumptions that individual shows promote.  If, as the author asserts, TV viewing makes it difficult to build independent ideas, what are we doing by indoctrinating young kids?  For the record, my kids do watch TV.  More than I'd like.  We steer clear of commercial programs, though. 

What about the churches? Their purpose for existence includes helping the weak and needy. Curious for numbers, I divided the number of homeless (conservatively estimated at 700,000 on any given night, 2 million sometime during the year) by the number of Christian churches. This nation is filled with churches: the World Almanac lists over 330,000 Christian houses of worship (61). If each church took in 6 homeless, there would be no more homelessness. (We are taught that God and money don't mix. But actually the struggle between church and capitalism has always been subtle.)

I wish he went into the church/capitalism relationship more.  This is something I've been pondering for a while.  Most churches I know are at least implicitly pro-capitalism, which I don't see as compatable with a kingdom mindset (although maybe I just haven't heard the right argument yet- I'm willing to acknowledge the possibility, however slight ;o)).  How do we fix this?  The comment that "God and money don't mix"- who has led us to believe that?  Jesus made some pretty harsh statements about money, and his actions don't leave a lot of room for doubt, either (the moneychangers in the temple is what I'm thinking of here).  We need a theology that covers even our money and how we spend it.  

A practical example- can we justify spending an extra couple hundred dollars to buy optional leather seats when we get a car?  Is that what good stewardship looks like?  I have dreamed in the past about starting an intentional community of Christians who own everything in common, who eat together, live together, help each other, and pool their funds...up till now, I've concluded it would never work, because sharing money is pretty foreign to Americans.  We talk a lot about my money, my taxes, my car...what a revolution there would be if we started thinking in terms of God's resources to further God's purposes.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


listening to: nothing, see below
reading:  Ray Bradbury, Faster Than the Eye
Well, now you have proof that I was not struck by lightning.  No voice out of the heavens either :)  Although as Rachel warned me, that water was pretty cold (by the way, Rachel, if you're reading this, I really wanted to say hi when I saw you there,  but never got a chance).  It would have been a totally perfect day, except that I woke up with a scratchy throat, and since I never, ever  shut up (really!), by the time it was my turn to speak before heading out into the water, I was croaky and unintelligible.  This is a real tragedy, folks!  I can't sing!  Believe me, I've tried.  Well, ok, on the way home from church I did throw in Concrete Blonde, and was amazingly able to sing even the lowest notes of "Joey" (not totally abnormal- I normally fall between mezzo soprano and alto, although that may be hard to believe if you've heard me talk)...but as soon as we hit the chorus, Johnette went for the high notes, whereas my voice cracked, then gave out completely.  It still isn't back.  Thankfully, nothing hurts, I just can't talk.  So tonight I decided not to listen to music, so I wouldn't be tempted to try singing.  Maybe I can pay someone to call Allie every hour or so and remind her that it means I can't read stories either.  Make that every 15 minutes.
My registration hold for school is $10 in library fines.  Huh.  Don't remember any overdue books.  I have some more pretty pictures of the falls and of Doug blessing my kids (don't have the pics of my baptism yet), so I'll post some more over the next few days.  Allie was awfully cute with Doug- she was playing shy.  She wouldn't even say "amen" when he was done blessing her!  Poor girl has a lot of me in her.  I have trouble with even eye contact, unless I'm speaking to a group.  Now tell me that isn't weird- I can't look a server in the eye when I order coffee, but when I'm talking to a bunch of people, it's no problem.  So I'm working on that. 

Doug blessing Allie Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Over and over as I strive to find my place in this world, I am tempted to kill my heart.  I've done it in the past.  As uncomfortable as the numbness that follows is, it has some distinct advantages over choosing to live fully and love vulnerably.  When I silence the compassion within, I am less apt to cry when I read something like this.  That story broke last year, and it still haunts me.  I can be more gentle and patient with my friends, because inside I am not raging against the things that have hurt them.  I don't get all worked up about kids who are starving or babies who are beaten to death.  I just breathe, in and out, in and out...and keep my distance from everything else. 
Passion is something that I deeply mistrust.  In others, and in myself perhaps most of all.  Earlier this year, I decided to stop smothering my passion and parade it instead.  Transparency.  When I embrace the passion that God has given me for people who are broken and people who can't see their own glorious beauty, who don't trust their worth, when I allow myself to cry the tears that they oftentimes cannot, I feel both fulfilled and terrified.  The fulfillment, of course, comes from being allowed to work the way God has wired me.  The terror is rooted in the fact that at times, it can all but consume me.  I love so deeply that it scares me very badly.  Patience and moderation are words from someone else's language.  And trust is still a risk, even with those I've  known for years.  There are people I would not hesitate to leave my children with who have not heard a whisper of my heart. 
But one baby step at a time, I am trying to change that.  I started with two very close, very dear relationships a few months ago.  Now I have started speaking here as well.  May I have the strength and perserverance to see this journey through to the end.  Amen.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

not in the mood
I can't find it in me to write about politics tonight.  I'm too preoccupied with everything that needs to get done before school starts in less than 6 weeks.
I need new glasses.  Sarah gave me her really cute frames, but I don't have insurance, so the lenses and exam are coming out of our checkbook.  We need to fix our Saturn so that we're a two-car family again.  I need to get things straightened out with North Hennepin  so that I can actually register.  Right now I have a registration hold because of a library book or something that I never turned in back in 1999.  I need to get my driver's license.  Maybe my permit before that.  It would also be nice to get the kids back on health insurance, but who knows if that will happen.
I added some links tonight, and also changed my comments to Haloscan.  And since I didn't make a backup copy of my template, I lost all the comments that were already posted here. 
Tomorrow I get baptized.  And I'll probably finish The Brothers Karamazov.  I've never been so profoundly disturbed and deeply encouraged by one book.  I know it doesn't end happily, and not knowing exactly what happens is bothering me.

removed post

Early this morning (or late last night if you prefer, it was 3 am or so) I posted a bunch about politics and my views, both in general and regarding my faith.  I was a little unsure about it, but I wanted to go  to bed, so I posted it with misgivings.  This morning, as soon as I got up, I decided to remove it, on the grounds that it was long and rambling and probably confusing.  So if you happened to read it, I apologize.  I'll be putting some of the same thoughts up in the next week or so, but only one or two at a time instead of trying to cover my entire political view at once.  Any questions or comments, feel free to post a comment or use the link on the left to email me directly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


listening to: Billy Bragg and Wilco, Mermaid Avenue

Sometimes I think that it is more trouble than it is worth to try to chase my dreams. Twice this past month I have emailed people to ask their help getting started (once about a project, once about finding a mentor), and neither has answered me. It's hard not to feel completely rejected, since these are people who I like, respect, and look up to. Part of me wants to go back to my old model of christianity- go to church on Sundays and be serviced. Because the other part, the one that wants to make a difference, to be transformed and help others with their own transformation, is tired and wants to give up. I want to pack up and hang a sign that says "closed for the remainder". It just seems like being at this point in my vocational journey is too much on top of being a mom. I need more support and affirmation than I have time to seek out. I need other people to speak into my life what they see God calling me to. I wish God would give one of my friends a prophetic dream, or something. Because knowing how hard running a two-student, three-kid household is going to be, I need a stronger sense of "yes! this is it!" than I have.

The humility of parenting

Allie: "Mommy, you're the best!"

Me: "Why, thank you sweetie. That's so nice of you to say."

Allie: "No, mommy, I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to my other mommy."

Meaning her friend Andy Jo, who was playing house with her.


Monday, July 12, 2004

post-gathering conversation at SP, July 4th Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 11, 2004

just what i needed :o)

listening to: Better than Ezra, Friction, Baby

The gathering at SP tonight facilitated some much-needed connecting with my heart. During our "body prayer" (don't know what to call it), I got a lot of perspective re: close male friend/boundaries issues. I needed that enormously. This has been a tough few months for me with friends. I've had trouble believing in them when they aren't right in front of me. Ah, trust. Maybe it is ordained that Jeff and I were assigned "faithfulness" as the theme for the day we are running the Vecinos Kids' Day Camp (theme: the fruit of the Spirit). Somehow, I can believe in my own trustworthiness, while disbelieving in my friends, most of whom are far more faithful and reliable than I. I'm really good at self-sabotage. Creating isolation and then convincing myself I can't rely on anyone. It's funny, in a cosmic sort of way.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

quiet, please!

listening to: Solomon's Porch, Homes for Guatemala V.3
reading: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (halfway there, and I was able to spell his name without looking at the book! woo!)

I'm just realizing, because I'm kind of slow about these things, how little space my life has for silence. Any kind of silence- contemplative, stunned, whatever. When I sit down for a few minutes and try to tune in to what is going on in my heart and soul, I get static. Meaningless chatter. I'm so discouraged by it. I know something is going on inside me- I feel all this unfocused negative stuff. I have no idea what the source is, and I'm having no luck finding it. I feel completely shut off from my internal life. Disconnected. Like it isn't even me in there, but some unsympathetic stranger who insistently bars my way. I get the feeling that it's "for my own good". I have a long history of protecting myself from feeling too strongly- it's a habit I'm trying to break, with some success. Because when I'm in self-protect mode, I walk around on auto-pilot and I can hardly feel anything at all.

It sucks.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Why is it...

That as soon as I start to feel like I have a handle on things, that I can be open and hopeful and even optimistic, I come down with melancholy? I know part of it is money- we never have enough of it. And the fact that school starts in just over 6 weeks is making me worry big time. Are we nuts to think that we can cut back to part-time income and make up the rest with our grants? We are getting the max from both the state and fed (three kids and one income will do that), but our budgeting track record isn't good, and I'm terrified that we're going to be halfway through the semester and run out of grant money. And part of me thinks we really must be nuts to do this when our kids are 3.5, 20 mos, and 20 mos. We're both planning on full course loads (which is necessary to qualify for the grants). The really scary thing is that, while I'm not sure we can do this, I know we have to. Jeff has felt called to ministry for a long time, so we're pretty sure he's getting a BA plus an MA (maybe in spiritual formation?). Me, I'm just along for the ride. I'm one of those geeks who loves school.

I think that is the worst part of this for me. I feel like doing so many different things. For the past three years, I was pretty certain I wanted to be a midwife. Then in really thinking about that job- the on-call hours, the irregular schedule, the unpredictability- I thought, "this really isn't what I want for my family". And since I am much more empathetic than analytical, I think I make a better doula anyway. So, now I'm rudderless and adrift. I like counseling, but I'm such a strong empathizer that I don't see myself making a good phychologist. I like teaching, but adults more than kids, and dialogical (if that is the word I'm looking for) rather than lecture-based. I love exploring theology and thinking and wondering about God. I like writing. So one day I stopped dead and thought, "would I make a good pastor?"

I'm having trouble even approaching that question. See, I have no idea what pastors in the emerging church do, except that sometimes they get their own action figures (teehee! kudos to whoever made that, I got it from KP's links). I know what emerging pastors don't do (make a lot of money! haha). And I know myself well enough to be certain that it's the emerging church or nothing. I'm increasingly uncomfortable anywhere else. Isn't there just some test or something I can take to tell me what to do? I'm good at tests. Not so good at this self-examination business.